Audi Q7 Hybrid review
Petrol-electric power replaces diesel in the Audi Q7 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid, adding loads of refinement at the expense of some fuel economy – and two of its seats
Audi Q7 Hybrid: what would you like to read next?
If you’re after an Audi Q7 plug-in hybrid, you might be interested to know that the German company has switched its large SUV PHEV from the old diesel-powered Q7 e-tron to a new, V6 petrol-propelled 55 TFSI e.
Audi’s thinking is that the TFSI e will be slicker and more refined than the old car. You might want to think of the change along the lines of switching your tried-and-trusted bottle of Flora for some high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
Like any plug-in hybrid Audi, the electrified Q7 looks no different to the petrol and diesel models. There’s an extra flap for the charging port and some discreet TFSI e badges, but that’s about it as far as visual changes are concerned.
Inside, the newer three-screen MMI Touch infotainment interface is adopted up front, replacing that strange old Audi system where the satnav screen popped out of the dash. MMI Touch looks great and works sweetly enough, what with its haptic button presses, but using it on the move takes a bit of getting used to.
There’s a big sacrifice to be made in the Q7 TFSI e compared to other models, though, and that’s the lack of a seven-seat option. With all the hybrid equipment, there’s just no space. You do get a 650-litre boot, however, so it’s practical in that regard.
The Audi Q7 plug-in hybrid is a big, heavy beast, but it makes up for that with exceptional levels of comfort and refinement.
The biggest difference between this new plug-in Q7 and the old one comes under the bonnet. It’s still got a 3.0-litre V6, but now that engine is powered by petrol, not diesel – just like the engines in alternatives such as BMW’s X5 xDrive45e, or Volvo’s XC90 T8 Recharge.
With 381hp and 600Nm, the 55 TFSI e doesn’t seem to move the game on much from the e-tron TDI’s 373hp and 700Nm. If that bothers you, there is an expensive Competition 60 TFSI e in the Q7 range with 462hp and 700Nm.
Audi claims the Q7 TFSI e can go 29 miles on its electric power alone, emitting just 60g/km of CO2 and returning a theoretical 104.6mpg. With a 17.9kWh battery and a maximum charging rate of 7.4kW on an AC connection, you’ll be looking at 2.5 hours to recharge the battery on a wallbox or around eight hours on a domestic three-pin socket.
Weight is the defining feature of the way the Q7 TFSI e drives. At 2,450kg, this is a heavy old bus and it feels it in the corners. Start throwing the Audi around and it becomes painfully apparent that the SUV is operating well outside its comfort zone.
But where the 55 TFSI e really scores heavily is cruising refinement. Opt for an S line and you get air suspension as standard, which make for impressive comfort levels and quiet operation. The automatic gearbox also conducts itself with more dignity and smoothness than the company’s S tronic twin-clutch transmissions, so as a family machine to cruise in the Q7 is bang on brief. Smooth and rich – just like extra virgin olive oil.
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